Manziel’s “second option” emerges as consistent threat
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 00:09
For Texas A&M, last season’s 29-24 upset of top-ranked Alabama shed a national spotlight on the Aggies’ superstar quarterback — Johnny Manziel. Unknown to the future Heisman Trophy winner, his performance would serve as a catalyst in the emergence of wide receiver Malcome Kennedy.
Kennedy, then a backup to senior wideout Ryan Swope, snared A&M’s game-winning touchdown against the Crimson Tide. Less than a year later, the junior has become one of Manziel’s favorite targets.
“I think the first half of the season, [Kennedy] sat behind Ryan Swope and Ryan really did a lot,” said A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin. “He started coming and broke out against Alabama with the touchdown catch and that helped his confidence moving forward. The offseason, I know this — nobody had a better offseason than him.”
When the A&M wide receiving corps lost three starters after last season — Ryan Swope, Uzoma Nwachukwu and Kenric McNeal — the Aggies required multiple young players to find their place within the unit.
Over the offseason, Kennedy emerged as Swope’s replacement, and only four games into the 2013 season the junior has grabbed a team-best four touchdowns along with a second-best 19 receptions for 218 yards.
“[Kennedy] is catching the ball well,” said A&M offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney. “He’s giving Johnny that second option he needed so it’s not always Mike Evans. He made big catches for us last year, so we knew he could do it. He knew we were losing three starters and this was his chance to
According to Kennedy, his position in the slot allows him to create space in the middle of the field, adding another option for Manziel.
“I try to be a go-to guy,” Kennedy said. “I know Johnny likes to throw to Mike [Evans] a lot, but we have an insider game with the slot receivers. I’m trying to be a third-down warrior and a sure-